GC Digital Fellows Workshops

The GC Digital Fellows host a range of workshops each semester, which may be viewed below, as well as at the central calendar for GCDI events on the GC Events and Workshops Calendar. Our workshops are usually several hours and serve as introductions to familiarize participants with a tool or topic. Sometimes workshops will be aimed at participants with an intermediate or advanced level of familiarity with the tool or topic, so please read the workshop description for each. Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptop to the workshops. Please see descriptions of this semester’s workshops, as well as links to register, below.

All workshops focus on practical tools for academics with a focus on applications in research and pedagogy and are open to Graduate Center students and faculty. Registration opens a week prior to the workshop and is required for attendance. Visit the link for each workshop to register.


Spring 2017 Workshop Series

Machine Learning: A Primer

Wednesday, February 8th, 10am-12pm 

In recent years we have seen words related to recent developments in computer science and technology, like machine learning, artificial intelligence or neural networks, be used increasingly in diverse fields of research and of the society in general. This workshop will survey basic concepts of machine learning. No specific background is expected. The goal is to provide some vocabulary with which one can get a sense of what these computational methods are about. In addition, we will also survey existing machine learning-related resources that one can explore to learn further; the resources will address technical understanding as well as critical thinking about the many implications of the technology.

Critical Circuits and Physical Computing: Arduino 101

Wednesday, February 8th, 6:30pm-8:30pm 

Join us for this absolutely no-experience necessary workshop to introduce you to the basics of using Arduino, an open-source hardware and software prototyping platform, so you can begin to consider and develop your own projects in collaboration with the Maker Space at the Digital Scholarship Lab. In this course, we’ll use critical experimentation as a way to think about interactivity in our computational world.


Info Security

Thursday, February 9th, 6:30pm-8:30pm 

This workshop will cover issues of data security. What does it mean for data to be “secure”? What is data encryption? How might you begin to protect yourself from data surveillance, reconsider data storage, and think about personal privacy in an age of internet research? This workshop is designed for someone who has never really thought of data security as a humanities scholar but who might want to consider where to begin.



Wednesday, February 15th, 6:30pm-8:30pm 

Do you have folders full of documents like “draft_1”, “draft_final”, “draft_finalfinal,” and “draft_reallytrulyfinal”? Are you worried about backing up your work and looking for a secure way to save drafts of your work? Does the idea of accessing the vast quantity of code available on the internet terrify and excite you? If so, come learn the most basic steps of using git version-control software and GitHub, the web-based git repository hosting service. This introductory level workshop will guide you through the basic structure of git on your own computer (BRING YOUR LAPTOP!) and You will learn the basics: what a repository is, why you would use one to back up your code, and the basic commands that allow you to do so.


Digital Project Management

Thursday, February 16th, 6:30pm-8:30pm 

This workshop will focus on the nuts-and-bolts of ensuring your digital humanities project gets off the ground–and even takes flight. We’ll cover the basics of articulating a clear research question or statement of purpose, how to obtain funding, where to seek resources, ways to manage digital (and collaborative) workflows, and options for presenting your work in digital or traditional formats. We welcome participants with specific projects already in mind, or those who would like a better understanding of how to create and manage digital work.


Data Visualization 1

Wednesday, February 22nd, 6:30pm-8:30pm 

Wanna know when you’d use a scatter plot versus a line plot? Or why a bar graph is usually favored over a pie chart? What is a heatmap, and how is data mapped to colors? Why are colored maps called chlorepleths? What is data? This workshop is a crash course and discussion on the implicit assumptions about data, often taught in science and social science methods classes, underlying data visualizations.

Tools for Collaborative Work

Tuesday, February 28th, 6:30pm-8:30pm 

This workshop is designed as a gentle introduction to using widely available (and FREE!) digital tools for collaborative work. We will explore how a few simple-to-use tools can be effectively wielded to manage your project, from communication, to workflow management, document storage, and collaborative editing. In practicing with these tools, we will discuss techniques for streamlining your project protocols and reducing the effort it takes to keep your work organized. If you’ve ever said to yourself: ‘I can’t find the latest version of that document!’, ‘What is Google Drive?’, ‘Where is my Dropbox?’, or ‘There has to be an easier way to schedule these meetings!’, then this workshop is for you! This workshop is designed for all levels of comfort and experience using digital tools (if you use MS Word or Gmail, then you can do this!) – no previous experience required! Register here.


Conference Live Tweeting How-to

Wednesday, March 1st, 6:30-7:30pm

Live tweeting allows the ideas, scholarship, and greater conversations that occur at a conference to have a life outside of the conference itself. If you are running a conference this semester, or attending one, and want to learn more about how to integrate live tweeting into your conference experience, then this is the workshop for you! Learn strategies for prepping content and building a plan of action for the conference itself, and discuss various challenges, pros and cons of live tweeting with the GC Social Media Fellows. Light refreshments provided. Participants are encouraged to bring a device (computer, smart phone, tablet, etc.) that connects to the internet. Register here.


So You Want to Start a Podcast?

Tuesday, March 7th, 6:30pm-8:30pm 

Are you curious about podcasting? Have you thought about starting one, or being involved in one, but feel unsure about the technology you will need, or the skills required to make it happen? Have you ever wondered if podcasting is a viable medium to integrate into your research, class assignments, public outreach, or departmental projects? This workshop will address all of these questions, with a general introduction to the medium and discussion of strategies and opportunities for integrating podcasting into your work as a scholar. We will also talk through the basic technology needed, and what is available to you as a GC student or faculty member to help make your podcast ideas realistically possible. We will end the workshop with a short collaborative demo, designed to demonstrate the process of bringing a podcast episode into existence, from choosing a topic and planning content, through the process of recording, producing, and publishing an episode. No technical skills or prior experience with podcasting or audio editing is required, only an interest in the medium and a desire to learn more about it! Register here.


Now what? Digital Project Implementation

Monday, March 13th, 3pm-5pm 

Description TBA. Register here.


Introduction to Python Programming

Thursday, March 16th, 6:30pm-8:30pm 

Python is a programming language that can be used for a wide range of tasks, including collecting and analyzing data in a variety of formats, building web applications, and much more. It is an extremely popular programming language for academic researchers because of its flexibility and adaptability. In this workshop, we will learn the basic of working with the Python programming language. This workshop is designed for Python beginners; a prior knowledge of programming is not required. Register here. 


Data Visualization 2

Thursday, March 23rd, 6:30pm-8:30pm 

Have you learned some Python and now want to learn how to make pretty pictures out of your data? This workshop is a deep dive into making graphs using the matplotlib visualization library. We’ll cover the basics of making pie charts, bar graphs, line and scatter plots, heatmaps, and putting data on maps using matplotlib & basemap and spend some time on how to make them pretty. Register here. 


So, you want to create a map? Introduction to GIS

Tuesday, March 28th, 6:30pm-8:30pm 

Are you interested in using a map to tell your research story? to explore your data? to illustrate your argument? This workshop will offer an approachable introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and its uses: storage, capture, edition, analysis and visualization of data. In the first part of the workshop we will look at the basics of GIS, including terminology, types of data, available software and file formats. In the second part of the workshop we will do basic exercises in which you will be able to learn how to start a project, draw features, fill information and perform basic geospatial analysis on your data. We will use mainly QGIS and also look at Carto Builder during the workshop. Register here.

Wednesday, April 19th, 6:30pm-8:30pm 

Data cleaning is an important step in any data-driven research project. Often data is harvested from diverse sources such as the web, databases, spreadsheets, text files, and countless other places. These sources can employ different encodings, formats, and follow different conventions all of which must be normalized before analysis can take place. Exactly what steps must be taken to clean a dataset depends on the data involved and the type of analysis being conducted. OpenRefine is a tool designed to make data cleaning easy. In this workshop we will learn how to use OpenRefine to clean a dataset as well as talk generally about the process of data cleaning. Register here.


Data Visualization 3

Thursday, April 20th, 6:30pm-8:30pm 

Interactive web based visualizations are becoming ever more integral to sharing research to the world at large and they are largely created using the D3.js library. In this workshop, we learn about the d3 data model and its conceptualization of graphics. We will then learn how to build and customize some simple graphs in D3.js. Register here.


Ethics Beyond Compliance for Digital Research and Projects

Monday, April 24th, 6:30-8:30pm

What might an ethics beyond compliance look like? Perhaps even an activist ethics? This workshop will review the basics of ethical concerns unique to digital research and projects, focusing on levels and range of impact. Bring your research and project ideas and we will workshop through various ethical concerns and conundrums that may arise. Register here.


Introduction to Analyzing Text

Tuesday, April 25th, 6:30-8:30pm

This workshop will introduce participants to the basics of analyzing text using easy-to-use tools that do not require any programming knowledge. We will cover how to begin exploratory analyses of your text corpus using tools such as the web-based Voyant, the iPhone app Textal, and the ProtAnt program. Participants will be able to find word and phrase frequencies, see keywords in context, and examine the prototypicality of their text. Register here. 


Cancelled: Text Encoding with XML and TEI

Wednesday, May 3rd, 6:30-8:30pm

This workshop provides a basic primer in flexible text encoding and markup using XML (eXtensible Markup Language) and principles of the TEI (Text Encoding Initiative). Humanities scholars use this method to transform texts into computational data, format digital texts to meet archival standards, and prepare an encoded or annotated text for eventual web interface. We will explore the historical uses of markup in academic and cultural institutions, contrast its usefulness against other methods such as topic modelling and text mining, and use our workshop time to transform a short text into tabular data. No experience necessary.


Using R for data analysis

Wednesday, May 10th, 6:30-8:30pm

R has become an indispensible tool for academics in a range of disciplines for analyzing data. Many users come to it though with limited programming experience which can often lead to many more headaches than anyone should reasonably suffer. This workshop attempts to make R a bit less painful. Fortunately the past few years have seen a flowering of open source packages that have tried to do just that. We will learn about some of these packages and how they can be incorporated into our projects. Though this workshop does not require you already know R, it makes more sense for those who have already begun using it or are considering using it for a future project. Register here.


Cancelled: Introduction to Machine Learning: Text Classification

Tuesday, May 16th, 6:30-8:30pm

This workshop will introduce participants to the core concepts of machine learning. We will first outline the differences between the major tasks in supervised and unsupervised machine learning (classification, regression, and clustering). We will then try a hands-on example of text classification to discussion topics such as data preprocessing, feature representation, and dimensionality reduction. For this session, we will be using the scikit-learn machine learning library. A working knowledge of Python is required for this workshop. Register here.


Fall 2016 Workshop Series

Introduction to Programming with Python
Thursday, September 15th, 6:30-8:30 PM
Registration opens September 8th

This workshop introduces the fundamentals of programming using Python, a language popular in both academia and industry. Topics will include basic programming concepts such as loops, variables, and conditionals, installing and importing libraries, and creating simple scripts. No previous programming experience is necessary.


Establishing a Digital Academic Identity: WordPress I
Thursday, September 22nd, 6:30-8:30 PM
Registration opens September 15th

The purpose of this workshop is to help you establish a digital academic identity while becoming familiar with the WordPress platform. We will focus on utilizing the CUNY Academic Commons, helping you establish your digital CV, a blog, or both. We will focus on organization and design, including theme editing, managing content, custom menus and image use. We recommend that attendees come prepared with their CV (digital format preferred) and / or a blog idea or sample blog post. If you are not already a member of the CUNY Academic Commons, we recommend that you sign up before the workshop.


Introduction to PressForward
Friday, September 23rd, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Registration opens September 16th

In this introductory workshop, new users will participate in a hands-on introduction to PressForward. The workshop will cover accessing PressForward from the WordPress Dashboard, adding feeds, selecting content to review, and organizing and publishing curated content. Attendees will also explore the editorial practice of group curation, and consider how PressForward might be integrated into a range of projects inside and outside the classroom at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. There are no prerequisites to enroll, though some familiarity with WordPress would be useful.


PressForward: Train the Trainers
Friday, September 23rd, 1:00–5:00 PM
Registration opens September 16th

In this “Train the Trainers” workshop, participants with some experience using PressForward (including those who attended the Introduction to PressForward workshop and who wish to stay) will look at examples of PressForward’s use across a range of institutions, explore how to organize and activate communities of users, explore methods for recruiting and training new users, and learn how to engage with PressForward’s active support community and forums.


The Lexicon of DH
Thursday, September 29th, 6:30-8:30 PM
Registration opens September 22nd

Digital humanities scholars have a treasure trove of digital tools at their fingertips, but particularly in the research phase of a project, it can be difficult to determine which ones you’ll really need. This workshop will focus on how to clearly articulate a research question that can be answered through digital humanities methods, and how to find the right tools for the job. We’ll discuss the genres and lexicon of DH, from types of text analysis to geospatial mapping, as well as online resource directories and resources at The Graduate Center. Feel free to come with your project ideas and questions.


Databases Part I: Introduction to Data Management with Databases and SQL
Tuesday, October 4th, 6:30-8:30 PM
Registration opens September 27th

Databases are invaluable tools for organization and are better than a spreadsheet for working with multiple data sets, asking questions, and adding structure to your data. SQL is a programming language for working with databases. This workshop will introduce you to the basics of SQL, and will include hands-on practice creating databases and tables, importing data, and querying the database. The topics covered in this workshop are applicable across different SQL implementations, including MySQL, SQLite, and PostgreSQL. No previous experience with SQL is necessary. This workshop is the first part of a two-part series—the second part will take place on Oct. 13th.


Introduction to iOS Programming
Tuesday, October 18th, 6:30-8:30 PM
Registration opens October 11th

In this workshop we will look at how to create your first iOS (i.e. iPhone/iPad) app. The focus will be on giving an overview of the entire workflow and decision making process for creating an app rather than detailing specific technologies. Some prior exposure to a programming language will be helpful, but is not required to follow this workshop. Topics will include the pros and cons of choosing to develop your application for iOS versus other platforms (e.g. the web), the tools needed to build an app (primarily XCode), a cursory introduction to the programming languages (Swift and Objective-C), and how to compile, test, and upload your app for distribution on Apple’s App Store. Resources will be provided to help participants learn the many details which cannot be covered in this workshop.


Databases Part II: Querying in the Real World
Thursday, October 13th, 6:30-8:30 PM
Registration opens October 6th

Databases are a ubiquitous piece of software on our computers and on the internet. They enable the storage of data in such a way that computers can access them in a reliable and robust way. One of the most important types of databases are ones that store data in structured tables and provide users access to the data through SQL, a querying language which allows us to filter, sort, and combine our data. This workshop will build on the basics of SQL covered in Databases (Part 1) on Oct. 4th. Moving into the “real world” of querying, we will covers topics like table indexing, foreign keys, inner vs. outer joins, aggregation, and more! We will use a MySQL database set up for a WordPress website to reveal one of the many secrets to the magic of the internet, though the scope of the workshop will be more general than just WordPress and also applicable across different SQL implementations, including MySQL, SQLite, and PostgreSQL.


So You Want to Make a Map: Starting a GIS Project
Wednesday, October 26th, 6:30-8:30 PM
Registration opens October 19th

Description Coming Soon.


Introduction to Physical Computing with Arduino
Wednesday, November 9th, 6:30-8:30 PM
Registration opens November 2nd

We spend plenty of time with our computers, websites, and maybe even code: but how familiar do we feel with the circuits, wiring, and sensors that make all this possible? Physical computing uses hardware and software to build digital devices that respond to our analog world–or perhaps more poetically, to make vivid the relationship between humans and computational materials. In this workshop, we will explore the foundations of physical computing as a practice in process, rather than product. Join us for this absolutely no-experience necessary workshop to introduce you to the basics of using Arduino, an open-source hardware and software prototyping platform, so you can begin to consider and develop your own physical computing projects in collaboration with the Maker Space at the Digital Scholarship Lab. We’re serious: no experience required! Here, we’re using experimentation and play as a way to think about interactivity in our computational world.


Introduction to Tableau Public
Wednesday, November 16th, 6:30-8:30 PM
Registration opens November 9th

This workshop will provide a hands-on introduction to Tableau Public, a free version of the commercial software for data visualization. We will begin with a brief introduction to data types and formats before working in Tableau. Attendees will learn how to import data, perform basic analyses, build visualizations, combine them into dashboards, and share their results publicly. Sample datasets will be provided, or you may wish to bring your own normalized dataset. Attendees should create a free account at[] before coming the workshop. Laptops are limited, so you may wish to bring your own laptop with Tableau Public 10.1 installed.
There are no prerequisites to enroll, but attendees may wish to read Stephen Few’s “Effectively Communicating Numbers,” pp. 2-23 ([]) for a primer on data types and visualization.


Introduction to Natural Language Processing with NLTK
Thursday, November 17th, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Registration opens November 10th

In this workshop, we will introduce the basics of working the with Natural Language Toolkit, (NLTK), a package for the Python programming language that provides useful tools for text analysis.  We will review some of the built in corpora that NLTK provides, and introduce several tools for text analysis (including concordance, conditional frequencies, n-grams, similar words, and part of speech tagging).  This workshop is designed for those with a basic knowledge of Python programming.


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